The Idiom

Can You Grok It? Free Grokistan!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Excellent must read/must understand piece from VDH. This country desperately needs to gain some perspective. We're in danger of losing the Long War because we simply have no concept that war is not an error free endeavor. It's not FedEx where you can precisely track your progress until victory. What we need to do is to keep our heads, and most important, simply not accept anything less than victory. If we had the same mindset in previous wars that we have today, there wouldn't even be a United States - we'd still be part of the British Empire.

Victory does not require achieving all of your objectives, but achieving more of yours than your enemy does of his. Patient Northerners realized almost too late that victory required not merely warding off or defeating Confederate armies, but also invading and occupying an area as large as Western Europe in order to render an entire people incapable of waging war. Blunders were seen as inevitable once an unarmed U.S. decided to fight Germany, Italy, and Japan all at once in a war to be conducted far away across wide oceans, against enemies that had a long head start in rearmament. We had disastrous intelligence failures in World War II, but we also broke most of the German and Japanese codes in a fashion our enemies could neither fathom nor emulate. Somehow we forget that going into the heart of the ancient caliphate, taking out a dictator in three weeks, and then staying on to foster a constitutional republic amid a sea of enemies like Iran and Syria and duplicitous friends like Jordan and Saudi Arabia—and losing less than 4,000 Americans in the five-year enterprise—was beyond the ability of any of our friends or enemies, and perhaps past generations of Americans as well.

But more likely the American public, not the timeless nature of war, has changed. We no longer easily accept human imperfections. We care less about correcting problems than assessing blame—in postmodern America it is defeat that has a thousand fathers, while the notion of victory is an orphan. We fail to assume that the enemy makes as many mistakes but addresses them less skillfully. We do not acknowledge the role of fate and chance in war, which sometimes upsets our best endeavors. Most importantly we are not fixed on victory as the only acceptable outcome.



At Friday, December 21, 2007 at 1:38:00 PM EST, Anonymous Jim - PRS said...

You're right. The VDH piece is a Must Read.


Post a Comment

<< Home